St James warns those who aspire to teach others that they will be judged with greater severity (C.f 3:1). Similarly Jesus warns us that those who lead others astray would be better off if they were thrown into the lake with a millstone tied around their neck! (C.f. Mt 18:6) It is therefore very important to be sure that we are on the right path if we are going to lead others along that same path!

In the Gospel today, Jesus exhorts us not to point out the splinter in another’s eye when we have a plank in our own eye. He is clearly exhorting those who desire to lead to first be sure that they can see and know where they are going themselves. Sometimes I think it would be better for us all if we spent a little more time allowing the Spirit of God to lead us, (after all He is an infallible guide), rather than insisting that we already know the way. Even leaders must in turn be led by another!

Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit for many reasons. One of them was for Him to be our guide and to lead us to all that is true. (Jn 16:13) What more could we ask for than this? We would be fools if we were to refuse such an offer of help! Yet it seems that we are often fools as we so often fall into sin! It is not as if Jesus has not tried to help us avoid this pitfall, it is just that we, in our pride, do not like being led! We want to believe that we know it all already and therefore do not have need of any guidance. This sin of self-sufficiency is one of the greatest causes of sin in our lives.

Let us make the decision to humble ourselves and admit that we do not yet know everything that there is to know about the Christian life. Let us resubmit our lives to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order that He will lead us in the ways of all that is good, true and perfect in the sight of God.

How self-sufficient do I pretend to be? Am I realistic about the need I have in my life to be led by others, and in particular the Holy Spirit, in the ways of the Gospel?

Lord Jesus, you were always obedient to the Father’s will. You did not seek to set out on your own to save the world. You respected fully your relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Help me to realise how dependent upon you that I am if I am going to be your disciple.